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Air strike on Libya's Tripoli kills three children, all sisters

GNA accuses Haftar's forces of the attack on residential neighbourhood, with the LNA denying responsibility
The site of an overnight air strike that killed three children on the southern outskirts of Tripoli, 14 October (AFP)

An air strike on a residential neighbourhood in Libya’s capital on Monday killed three children, all sisters, the Tripoli-based government said.

Another child and a woman were also wounded in the strike.

According to the health ministry, medics were forced to amputate the child’s leg and the woman remains in critical condition.

The UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) said forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar were responsible for the raid.

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Haftar, who is backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launched an offensive on Tripoli in April, though his forces have struggled to advance after early victories.

Ahmed Mismari, a spokesman for Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), denied his forces had carried out an air strike on a house in southern Tripoli’s Fornaj district.

The Reuters news agency reported that a house in Fornaj had been completely destroyed by the attack.

The UN mission to Libya condemned the air strike, calling for the international community to put an end to the violence.

"Once again, innocent children pay the ultimate price," the mission said in a statement.

"The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemns in the strongest possible terms the reckless disregard for the lives of innocent people and calls for the immediate cessation of such indiscriminate attacks."

Haftar’s offensive, which began after he swept through Libya’s south, capturing much of the country’s oil installations along the way, has killed and wounded hundreds of civilians and displaced more than 120,000 people.

The UAE has provided Haftar with a great deal of his air power. LNA strikes have in recent months hit a migrant detention centre and a funeral with devastating results.

Last month, Germany unveiled a plan designed to bring the fighting to a close and put a halt to regional powers arming the warring parties.

Other than Egypt and the UAE’s support for the LNA, Turkey has been criticised for breaking the international arms embargo placed on Libya by sending weapons to the GNA.